Appalachian and Ohio Railroad

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The Appalachian and Ohio Railroad (reporting mark AO) is a class III railroad operating in West Virginia. Originally the Cowen and Pickens Subdivisions of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the railroad was a part of CSX until it was leased to Watco Companies, which began operating the railroad on March 25, 2005. Watco only held the line for a short time before turning the lease from CSX over to Four Rivers Transportation, now P&L Transportation, on May 15, 2006. The railroad operates 158 miles of track between Grafton and Cowen. It has one active branch, a portion of the Pickens Subdivision that connects Alexander to the main line at Hampton. The AO's main customers are coal mines, although it carries smaller amounts of chemicals and wood. Among the six coal mines it serves is the Sago Mine, site of the Sago Mine disaster in 2006. It connects with four other railroads: CSX, at Grafton Beech Mountain Railroad (BEEM), at Alexander Elk River Railroad (ELKR), at Burnsville West Virginia Central Railroad (WVC), at Tygart All of these railroads are currently active, including the BEEM regularly loading coal trains since 2008 and the ELK moving cars between Gilmer and Gassaway for storage and the contracted repair facility in Gassaway, WV.
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